|What do you mean we don't need special grooming? Barley has stinky feet!|
House cleaning is my least favorite part of owning any pet, much less multiple pets. I hate cleaning--every last part of it: dishes, laundry, vacuuming, mopping, dusting. I guess I can't really blame the pets. Cleaning has always been something I've put off until the last minute (aka the night before I have plans for someone to come over). Multiple pets just exacerbate the problem.
|What do you mean? I picked up this cat toy. I'm very helpful.|
I wish I had good advice to offer about how to stay on top of house cleaning with multiple pets, but the pets generally do their best to make housework even more difficult. Here are a few examples:
Barley is not afraid of the vacuum. In fact, the vacuum tends to bring out her "hero mode." I spend several minutes picking up all of the dog toys from the floor before vacuuming and the second I turn on the vacuum she runs to get one out again. She'll drop it a good distance front of the vacuum, walk away, and then rush in at the last moment to save her toy.
Barley also hates the sight of a clean floor. When I finish vacuuming, she usually goes and grabs a mouthful of kitty litter and spits it out in the middle of the floor. Then there's all the fun stuff she tracks in from the yard--whether it's a snow covered toy or the little helicopter seed pod things.
Because Soth has bladder problems, we've become a 3-litterbox household. Since our apartment has limited non-carpeted spots, that means that we have litter boxes on the carpet and Soth likes to kick litter around. I spend a lot of time with the dustpan and a little brush trying to keep my carpets from being covered in litte (and we only use recycled paper litter in the boxes that are on carpet, which helps keep clay from being ground into the carpet).
With Soth's FLUTD, accidents are inevitable, so I bought a steam cleaner shortly after he was diagnosed. Usually, a few hours after I steam clean the carpets, he barfs on them. At first, I thought he might be reacting to the cleaning solution, but it also happens when I use water and vinegar or just straight water instead of cleaner. He peed on the steam cleaner that I had stored in a corner of the room for easy access, which leads me to the next point.
My apartment has a lot of closets. When Soth decided to pee on the steam cleaner, I had to make room in the closet for the steam cleaner. My bedroom closet also has really awesome shelves that I thought would be good for storing linens and sweaters.
|What do you mean these shelves are for storage?|
Soth was also determined to make it up to the top shelf in the closet. He'd stand on the back of the chair that's near my closet and leap. Sometimes, he would just barely make it on to the shelf and it's high enough that I was afraid he'd really get hurt. I tried just keeping the closet doors closed, but Soth figured out how to pull them open. So I had to come up with another solution--and now I have to rearrange things every time I need to get linens out of the closet or find a pair of shoes.
|This is taller than I am, but it puts Soth right up to the top shelf safely.|
Of course, now that he has access to even more of the shelves, he wants to have all of the shelves to himself and pulls things off of them to make his own little cat caves.
|This comforter was in my way, so I pushed it out.|
Not only do the pets ensure that I need to do a lot of laundry, Soth also insists on helping to fold the laundry.
|A freshly washed towel is too warm and snuggly to resist.|
Barley's favorite part of doing laundry is when it's time to change the sheets on the bed. She loves to get tangled in the fitted sheet and hop up onto the bed between every step of putting new sheets on.
Like laundry, the pets also create a lot of extra dishes to do. Soth needs to drink a lot of water because of his FLUTD, so we have 3 water bowls in our 2 bedroom apartment so that he's never far from water. Those have to be washed and refilled regularly. Soth also has to eat a lot of wet food in his diet, so I get to wash his little food dishes several times a day, too. Soth also insists that I do all of my dishes regularly by knocking coffee thermoses off the counters when he gets hangry.
Soth gets a lot of hair balls, so he gets regular doses of Cat Lax--which is basically this molasses-y, vaseline-like stuff that I put on his paw so he licks it off and then it coats the hairball and helps it pass through. Soth acts like he's been mortally wounded when you put Cat Lax on him, so he flicks his paw around and limps around until he realizes that it's not going anywhere. Except it does go everywhere. Soth is short--but somehow he manages to get that stuff all the way up around the light switches! And leaves a trail on the floors. And on the bed.
|Why did you put this stuff on my toes?!|
|Cat Lax several feet up on the door frame.|
Luckily, Barley is a good little helper and she follows him around and licks up whatever she can find, but I still find it in random spots throughout the house.
Barley loves trash. She doesn't out in the real world--she'll leave a slice of pizza in the middle of the sidewalk without batting an eyelash, but put an empty can of cat food or some leftovers dug out of the back of the fridge in the trashcan in the house and the second I go to the bathroom, she finds a way to get it out--even if it's at the bottom of the can--without making a noise or tipping it over. I thought if I got a trashcan that had a lid that was flush with the rest of the can instead of with a lip like our old one had, she'd have a harder time getting into it.
For about a month, it worked. But now she's got it figured out. Unfortunately, none of the stores near us had locking lids in our price range, so we're back to the drawing board on this one.
Barley and Soth have made me rethink my standards of cleanliness. There was a time when I was horrified by the thought of a litter box on a carpeted floor, but then I realized that a few more litter boxes in Soth's problem areas was much better than constantly cleaning the carpet. No matter how much Barley is brushed, she sheds all the time and I could vacuum multiple times a day and fill up the vacuum, so I've learned to keep myself sane by accepting a certain amount of dog hair on the carpet and vacuuming a couple times a week. Ultimately, I'd rather spend time hanging out with my pets than cleaning up after them, so we've learned to compromise--and next winter's cabin fever project will teaching Barley to pick up her own toys.
How do you keep your house from turning into a disaster zone with multiple pets? Seriously, please tell me all your secrets because I have no idea. Be sure to check out the other blogs linking up with Cascadian Nomads, Wag 'N Woof Pets, and My GBGV Life to see how other multi-pet homes keep up with cleaning and grooming!